Geoffs Genealogy Update 3 April 2013

Wednesday April 3rd, 2013 | Geoff

What a strange month March has been in the UK weather-wise! Winter has returned with a vegeance, with more snow seen in our part of the world than we’ve had all winter!

Every time the weather takes an unusual term there are items in the media that bang on about the effects of global warming, as though every apparent change in our climate is due to this. For all I know, they may be right, but my reading of history tells me that our climate has always been changing, and therefore I wonder how we are to know which changes are due to man’s intervention and which would have occurred anyway. After all, between 1607 and 1814 Frost Fairs were held on the frozen  River Thames, during what is known as the Little Ice Age. The famous painting of The Frozen Thames, 1677  gives you an idea what it would have looked like in those times. Our ancestors would have certainly known what it was to be cold during that period. No central heating or cavity wall insulation for them, and no winter heating allowance, either! They just shivered their way through life.

Yes, I know that due to a variety of factors the Thames is now faster flowing than it was in those days, making it less likely to freeze over, but even allowing for that, we can see that it was very much colder in those days. We are certainly cossetted these days by comparison with our forebears.

So how has my family history research gone this month?

By any standards March has been a very good treeing month, with so many new finds and developments that I cannot possibly tell you about all of them. I’ll just pick one to talk about, though.

In the last few weeks Find My Past has added a large number of Kent genealogy records to its online collection. If your forebears hailed from East Kent it may very well be worthwhile for you to have a look at these. I checked them out, hoping to find some parish records for Herne Bay, and sure enough, there they were!

Many years ago, when The National Archives (TNA) was known under its old name – the Public Records Office (PRO) I visited it in its wonderful old pre-2003 quarters at Chancery Lane, in the centre of London. I used to love visiting PRO in this old gothic building; it was such a fascinating place to go to and it was there that I first came to know the Court of Chancery records and the wills of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, and a host of other fascinating sources that are now accessed at Kew. I should say, however, that the access to records in those times was nothing like as good as it is now, and the reading rooms at Kew are far better than the old ones at Chancery Lane.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that in June 1995 I looked at the non-conformist registers on microfilm at the PRO, and in the records of the Independent Chapel at  Herne Bay (Source Ref RG4/933) I found the baptism entries of some of the children of Dr Thomas Hunt (1798-1879) and Martha Mary nee Colam (1808-1861). It seems quite possible that all of the couple’s thirteen children were baptised at this chapel, but as the surviving records only cover the period 1826-1836 they only contained the baptisms of Emily (1828), Loiusa (1829), Matilda (1831) and Esther Maria (1834). Disappointingly, there was no trace of Thomas Junior, who I believed to have been born c1827, but whose birth I had never traced.

More often than not non-conformists families had their children baptised in the state church, even if they also had them baptised into their chapel of choice, and so it was with the Hunts. Thanks to Find My Past I was able to find a whole host of baptism entries. Not only that, I was able to download copies of the entries, so no need to mess about with transcriptions. The entries I  found are:

William Hunt (bap 1841)
Arthur Ackland Hunt (bap 1841)
Mary Elizabeth Hunt (bap 1843)
George Greenway Hunt (bap 1845)
Louisa Hunt (bap 1845)
Matilda Hunt (bap 1845)
John Hunt (bap 1845)
Thomas Hunt (bap 1845) – who I now know was born in 1837!
Emily TeresaHunt (bap 1845)
Esther Maria Hunt (bap 1845)

The eagle eyed among you will realise that the above list contains ten names. Where, I hear you ask, are the baptisms of the other children of Dr Thomas Hunt and his spouse?

Well, I suspect that their first born – Emily Hunt – was only baptised in the Independent church. This is because, as I found in 1995 at the old PRO,  she died at the tender age of 8 months, being buried in the graveyard of Herne Bay Independent Chapel on 20th December 1828. I can say with some certainty that she was not baptised in the Church of England at Herne Bay.

That leaves two children – Caroline Stafford Hunt (b 1850) and Edward Jacobson Hunt (b 1852). Census records show that these people were born in London, so it would be reasonable to think that they may not have been baptised at Herne Bay. Sure enough, I have found the baptism of Edward at St Giles in the Fields, Holborn in 1852.

Which leaves Caroline. I can’t find her baptism at the moment, but will continue to try. In the meantime I’ll satisfy myself with the thought that 11 baptisms found out of 12 is quite a good success rate!

I close with my usual reminder about the Reunion of John Bankes’ Descendants, that we are holding at Coulsdon on 8 June 2013. If you are a Bankes descendant and have not yet booked, what are you waiting for? Do come and join us. You won’t be disappointed!








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